Wayne Winters admits that he doesn’t “walk real fast,” but he’s been covering as much ground as he can in Farr West, Utah, in a desperate bid to save his wife’s life.
Winters, 74, has been walking “for miles” every day along the town’s streets wearing a sandwich board on his chest with an unusual plea.
“Need Kidney 4 Wife,” the sign reads, with his wife’s blood type (A-) and his phone number.
According to KSTU-TV, the septuagenarian’s wife, Deanne Winters, has stage 5 kidney failure.
“She’s on dialysis and she doesn’t like it, it’s horrible,” Winters told the station. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen her. She don’t look good.”
Worried for Deanne and wanting to ease her suffering, Winters said he became determined to find her a kidney match. While looking for ideas online, he said he stumbled upon the story of Larry Swilling, an elderly South Carolina man who carried a sign around a few years ago to find a kidney for his own ailing wife.
Swilling finally did find a match for his beloved, Jimmie Sue, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2013. She died earlier this year at the age of 80 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. “The kidney and her husband’s love were both going strong until the end,” wrote the Independent Mail in February.
Inspired by Swilling, Winters created a sign of his own and recently started pounding the pavement.
The response so far has been “overwhelming,” he told KSL-TV last week. People have been stopping their cars and offering help; many others have called him up to offer assistance.
Deanne says she has “hope and faith” that a kidney match will be found somehow. “I have a lot of living left to do,” she told KSL.
As for Winters, he said he won’t stop searching until he finds a kidney for the “love of his life.” And even after that, he’s vowed to continue to raise awareness about kidney disease and donation.
At the back of his sign is another message: “1,000 kidneys needed in Utah and Idaho.”
For information about kidney donation, visit the website of the National Kidney Foundation. KSTU-TV has provided this number for those wanting to assist Winters and his wife: 801-675-0278.